Listed below are Seven Key Developmental Skills necessary for Kindergarten Success! Review each, and consider how your child is with each skill. If your child is in a Pre-School or Day Care Setting, his/her teacher should be able to give you some insight as well.
1. Shows an enthusiasm toward learning.
Children naturally show eagerness toward exploring a new environment or activity. By providing children with many different experiences, environments and opportunities you are encouraging them to grow and be more curious. Asking questions is how children learn more about the world around them.
2. Solid Oral Language Skills.
Preschool Children can learn up to five words per day. Providing children with many different experiences and labeling their actions and objects, asking open-ended questions (all the "wh" words) and discussing situations about their experiences builds vocabulary, critical thinking skills and comprehension. Reading books with children while asking questions is an excellent way to develop language skills. Another way is to sing songs with your child. Sing in the car, on a walk or in the house while doing an activity. Start off with popular songs, then add different words or sounds to the melody.
3. An ability to listen.
Listening is a big part of kindergarten. Children need to listen to simple two and three step directions and carry them out with little guidance. The best thing a parent can do to develop a good listenener is to read to their child everyday. Reading is interesting and fun for the child when it keeps them interested and involved in the story. Choose stories that allow a child to act out actions or sounds. Use variations of voice for each character. Remember to ask questions both during and after the story is complete. Provide your child with simple two and three step directoins; help set the table, sort the laundry, put groceries away.
4. A desire to be independent.
Encouraging self-help skills are a critical part of kindergarten readiness. Kindergarten Teachers are responsible for larger groups of children and rely on children's self-help skills for smoooth transistions through the daily lessons and activities. Children should be able to: dress themselves, hang up their coats, take off and put on shoes, use the facilities, wash hands, open snacks/juice boxes, and pour liquid into a cup. Children should be able to sit for about 15 minutes while engaged in an activity. Children should know their first and last name, phone number, and address.
5. An ability to play with others.
Children need to have experience with simple socializtion skills like sharing, taking turns, verbalizing feelings and handling conflicts with other children.
6. Strong Fine Motor Skills.
Your child's hands must be strong enough to master cutting, coloring, pasting, and holding a pencil correctly.
7. Basic Letter and Number Recognition.
Recognition of upper and lower case lettters of the alphabet, and counting to 20 is a good foundation. Writing first and last names using initial caps, and lowercase letters. Letter sounds and proper stroke formation will be practiced during Kindergarten.
Information Adapted from the April/May 2003 issue of Scholastic Parent & Child Magazine.
nt: Lacing Activities Build Strong Eye-Hand Coordination necessary for successful handwriting.
Suggested Reading List for Kindergarten Readiness -
Burningham, John. The School Illustrations and just a few words show what a child can expect at school.
Hill, Eric. Spot Goes to School. Spot, the pup has fun at school with his friends.
Howe, James. When you Go to Kindergarten. A photo essay showing what a Kindergarten class is like.
Penn Audrey. The Kissing Hand. A popular story suggests a way to deal with the separation of going to school.